“The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it!” Trump tweeted on Friday. “Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love!”
The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2018
Outrage ensued, obviously. ThinkProgress, the media arm of John Podesta’s Center for American Progress think tank, immediately accused the president of anti-Semitism. A Slate editor chimed in, calling Trump’s words an “anti-Semitic dog whistle.” And a staff writer for The Atlantic called it a “conspiracy theory that a rich Jewish boogeyman is making women claim to have been raped and assaulted,” RT reports.
— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) October 5, 2018
the “soros-funded protesters” thing should be understood as both an anti-semitic dogwhistle and an attack on the idea of legitimate opposition itself, a tactic imported from european far-right parties
— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) October 5, 2018
Fox News host asks leading Republican senator if he believes in conspiracy theory that a rich Jewish boogeyman is making women claim to have been raped and assaulted; he (and the president of the United States) say yes: https://t.co/BLVqlgc3K0
— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) October 5, 2018
Columnists for the New York Times and the Washington Post were quick to follow, denouncing what they said was an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory and adding a splash of guilt by association.
One thing about the lie that Kavanaugh protestors are Soros-funded: it's anti-Semitic and rejects the legitimacy of dissent. But it's also projection: This is in fact what Republicans have done, e.g. in the "Brooks brothers riot" against a Florida recount https://t.co/YlRrflk8hU
— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) October 5, 2018
This is truly horrific. The Soros conspiracy theory is now a staple of anti-Semitic politics in Europe. A president of the United States should not want to be associated with it in any way. https://t.co/q2zIRBUH9w
— EJ Dionne (@EJDionne) October 5, 2018
This would come as news to Israel, however. In July 2017, ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Hungary, the Israeli ambassador in Budapest condemned anti-Semitism in relation to a campaign poster depicting Soros negatively. The Israeli Foreign Ministry quickly reacted to clarify the statement, explaining that criticism of Soros was legitimate, because the Hungarian-born billionaire “continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments”and funds organizations “that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself.”
Speaking of conspiracy theories, though, an Atlantic Council hunter for Russian witches was quick to accuse “the Russians” – specifically, RT – of being behind the whole Soros story.
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) October 5, 2018
RT’s sin, you see, was to cite reporting by US journalists who listened in on conference calls in which groups were coordinating protests against Kavanaugh and handing cash to those arrested, and quote public records showing that Soros’s Open Society Foundation gave generously to these groups.
A common thread in all these reports is the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), which organized some of the protests against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee from day one. It was CPD activists and executives that led the ambush of Senator Jeff Flake in a Capitol Hill elevator, as well as several of his colleagues at the Washington National Airport.
— Joe Gabriel Simonson (@SaysSimonson) October 5, 2018
Public records show that Soros’s Open Society Foundation is one of the major donors to CPD, giving $130,000 in 2014 and $1,164,500 in 2015. Soros gave an additional $1.5 million to the group in 2016 and 2017.